Things change. Life is an experience of change. Humans have a fantastic ability to adapt to change to a degree that we often will barely notice it. I don’t mean that we won’t notice things that change, it’s more that we will continue to operate as though nothing is changing while addressing these changes.
I believe that this trait is drawn through ritual. When our rituals can remain without disruption, then no matter the change that happens surrounding us, we carry on as though nothing is changing. Ritual is our true north. If our ritual doesn’t have to change, then we are set.
For me, my life of late has been obsessively focused on trying to create ritual. It seems that each and every day of my life is an exercise in rolling the dice to see what pops up. Not that any of it is necessarily bad, it is just that there is little disciplined routine. This is especially true with my writing.
My wake-up routine is one that I especially am trying to tackle now. Up to today, my routine has consisted of waking up, going to the kitchen to get the coffee running, then laying on the couch until I felt like getting up all the way. When the coffee finished brewing, I might get up to pour a cup, or I might stay on the couch. Eventually I would get up, get the cup of coffee, if I hadn’t gotten it already, and I would then get dressed. By then, I would play Flow on my phone solving the daily puzzles. Eventually I would have had enough coffee that I would get up, prep my travel mugs, then clean the coffee pot and any dishes that accumulated since the evening before. Then I’d leave for work.
No reading, no journaling, no task reviews, no writing— nothing besides brewing coffee and getting dressed is helping set me up for a successful day. There’s a lot to improve here.
The other day I tried a change. It wasn’t perfect, but rather than laying on the couch after starting the coffee, I sat down with my notebook and wrote down some tasks for the day. Then I made a few quick journal notes. From there, I opened my computer to write. I was able to write 100-ish words before getting up to clean the coffee pot and dishes, then leave for work.
Then I repeated it on Wednesday.
In those tweaks I experienced a pretty significant change. I was better able to tackle more things earlier in the day. I was more alert. I was more relaxed. In other words, I wasn’t spending the time fighting against myself in getting going. That is huge.
It will take continued refining, and I will need to be diligent in completing it every day, not falling back into the trap of my anxieties. With discipline, my new daily morning routine will help set me up for continued success.